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Anyone near a Mongolian BBQ?

So there is a Mongolian BBQ that is near us and a few strange vegan friends of mine are pretty much begging me to go. From their description, it sounds like a grilled salad bar. anyone been to one?

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  1. I love it! I would describe it more like a place where you personally choose every ingredient, including all the oils and sauces, that go in your stir fry. They also offer Italian food, but you usually see people doing Chinese. So if you're tracking your nutrition it's cool because you are in control of everything.

    1. Mongolian BBQ rocks! I think there are lots of different places, some chains, some not. It's pretty fun, actually. You go through like a buffet line and choose various meat options (the one I went to in Sioux City recently also had tofu), noodles, vegetables, and then oils & sauces, and then you hand it to these guys at this enormous round cooking surface. They cook it for you, and then give it to you on a plate.

      There's actually a chain of these around here now, called HuHot (evidently after Genghis Khan's capital city; I think it's a silly name for a restaurant, but they didn't consult me before choosing it). They take all the guesswork out of the process, telling you what order to put things in your bowl, and how much oil/sauce to put in, and even providing "recipes" of sauces to get various flavors. I've been to one in West Des Moines and the one in Sioux City, and was impressed. The only thing I missed from the one we used to go to in Portland, which was not a chain I don't think, was a supply of little mu shu-like pancake/tortilla things.

      1. There's one at my local mall. It's called the Great Con, or something.

        1. I agree that Mongolian grills or "barbecues" are great fun. One recommendation: As mentioned above, many of these places have standard recommendations for how many spoonfuls of which type of sauce to ladle on your bowl of goodness before it is cooked. I would recommend following your own instincts instead. Often the standard recommendations produce a sweet and salty concoction designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. You can take more control of your meal by deciding how many spoonfuls of each type of sauce to use. If your bowl is too dry to cook, the staff can always add a little water when the food hits the grill.

          Also, avoid the temptation to fill your bowl to overflowing. Sometimes less is more, and customers that cram everything imaginable in their bowls usually end up with a serving of undifferentiated mush. If you choose carefully, knowing that you can try something different on a later visit, you'll probably have a better experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: silverbear

            Last time I went I went through the whole process twice, and did it a little different each time. I followed one of their "recipes" once, and got some nice peanut-sauce noodles. The other time I just did what I thought would be good: a bunch of garlic oil and some other stuff. Both of them were quite tasty. I just wish they were closer than 75 miles away.

          2. Mongolian BBQ is okay; I wish the presentation of the meat/toppings/sauces was more attractive. At the location I've been to, patrons stand in a cafeteria-type line to fill their bowls at what looks like a fast food salad bar-type arrangement. I'd prefer to see stations set up so you can go directly to the meats or vegetables instead of down the entire line, shuffling after the person in front of you.
            That said, M BBQ is a fun concept; the place is always packed, especially in the summer months.

            5 Replies
            1. re: swissgirl

              I've been to ones that have things set up at separate stations; when it gets busy everyone goes to the salad bar line mentality almost instantly.

              Usually when I hit a Mongolian BBQ, I'll make an ENORMOUS bowl and then take the rest home. I'll get two full meals out of it just about every time.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                The ones I've been to won't let customers do that. You're lucky!

                1. re: wyf4lyf

                  The one that offers doggie bags is YC's in the Phoenix area. The doggie bags cost 50 cents for a reason.

                  Incidentally, when I lived down in Tucson I absolutely loved Iron Grill over on Tanque Verde. I hope it's still there.

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    It is. There's a newer place on Broadway near Swan now...I think it's run by the same people but it's a bit nicer atmosphere.

                    1. re: wyf4lyf

                      Yep. They've also got a place on Campbell, near Ft. Lowell. Next to Yuki sushi.